What You Need to Know about Processor Speed

Processor speed is one of the most important factors to consider if you are going to buy a computer. Various types of processors exist, some made for laptops and others for desktop computers. Using the overclocking method, a processor can be made to run faster than it was originally intended to.

The processor speed or clock speed determines how fast the computer will perform operations and computations. Speed is measured in hertz. It is frequently referred to as the CPU (central processing unit) speed.

Clock Speed Measurements

Computers run at very high frequencies, so megahertz and gigahertz are used to express their speed. A single megahertz is equal to one million cycles per second. The gigahertz is equal to one billion cycles every second.

If a computer is advertised as running at 2.4GHz, it means the processor can perform 2,400,000,000 cycles per second. A computer that runs at 800MHz can do 800,000,000 cycles every second.

Multiple Cores

Majority of today’s computers have dual core processors. What this means is that separate processors can function in parallel. Dual core processors are common but there are also triple and quad processors available.


There are several types of processors. Some are designed for desktop computers, while others are made for laptops, mobile devices and notebooks. Manufacturers will make different processors. For example, Intel makes the Celeron, Pentium and Core processors. Each one is a processor family with many variants.

AMD produces their own processors: the Sempron, Athlon and Phenom. AMD uses the Radneon processors for notebooks. Intel uses the Celeron and Core processors for laptops.

There are many other types of processors available. A processor is made for a specific computer (i.e., upgrade, built from scratch or pre-assembled).

What is the Socket?

The socket contains the processor. Both the socket and processor are on the motherboard. There is no standard socket design; it usually changes when the processor is modified. Some socket designs can be used with other processors.

Others cannot; once you change the processor, the socket has to be changed too. In some cases, you have to replace the motherboard too when upgrading the processor.

Overclocking and Processor Speed

Overclocking is a method used to increase the speed of the processor. This is attained by increasing the speed of the motherboard bus. The voltage of the power to the CPU is also increased. This will make the computer run faster. However it produces more heat. Overclocking may damage some components.

Overclocking first came into being during the early 1990s. It was a complex process. One had to open the computer casing and switch jumpers on the motherboard. The jumper positions determined the bus speed. By changing them, the computer would be forced to operate at a higher speed.

Today it is much simpler. You just have to reboot the computer and go to the BIOS settings. There you’ll be able to change the bus settings.

While processor speed is important, so is the Random Access Memory (RAM). If you are going to buy a computer, you need to look at the hard disk, video card and other components too.

Roger Corwin (18 Posts)

30 thoughts on “What You Need to Know about Processor Speed

  1. Hi there! Thank you for letting me know about the processor speed. I would like to share mine. I have 3.0mghz. Do you think the speed of it will affect the speed of the internet?
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    • It is true what you said. But, nowadays, a computer has at least 2 processors (Dual Core or Core2Duo) and the speed is very good (almost we can not make the difference if we have 2 or 4 or n processors). It is the same thing! And for a regular user 2 processors are more than enough!

  2. Dear Roger:

    First of all sorry for my terrible english because I am from Spain. Congratulations for your work. I think that we must find a way to give solutions to the problems of the modern products. These type of initiatives are very important and will be more in the future.
    Thank you very much for let me give my opinion. I am at your disposal.

    Paloma Referidos Armenteros.

  3. This answer isn’t going to really please you, but the easy way out of this is to buy a new motherboard, processor, and then probably RAM for your computer. Chances are that your processor is outdated and you just simply need an upgrade. Another thing you can do in the meanwhile is to turn off programs that you aren’t using. Sometimes virus scanners take up a lot of processing power because they are scanning your computer. Perhaps yours has some sort of option that is turned on where it scans whenever your computer is idle. It’s up to you, but I would just turn that off and have it scan on a weekly basis, or just whenever you want to scan your computer yourself. Pressing ctrl+alt+Delete on your computer and choosing “Task Manager” (if you need to choose it) will bring up a window that tells you what is running at the time. It’s hard for me to tell you what to turn off and leave on without looking at it, but simple Google searches with the names of the files under the “Processes” tab will give you a clue on what program it is. Many of these programs do not need to be on. They were just automatically made to start up on your computer by the software company. Who knows, maybe just turning off a few programs will be enough to keep your processor running at a reasonable level.
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  4. Somehow, the speed of processors define the performance quality of a computer. It is the one that people are looking for whenever they buy desktop or laptop computers. Usually, when there are new and faster processors, people tend to replace their old ones simply because they want something faster!

  5. This information about processor speed really helped me a lot because I have difficulty looking for some information about it. However, This post is not just relevant but it really has a point. Thanks for sharing this to us. This really gave me new information.
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  6. Excellent Article! Processing Speed is one of The Most Important Aspect to enhance the efficiency of your computer! Dual Core Processors made a Revolution in This Field! Clocking Speed is one of the most Aspect to Enhance The Processor Efficiency!

  7. Some really good information about some important technical points when buying a computer. I hear so many people saying ‘it’s got a 500gb hard drive’ thinking that means it’ll run fast. They don’t realise that that’s just the storage capacity, and the speed a computer is decided by a number of factors, with processor speed being the core of these.

  8. Processor is a main part in a it’s very important to measure the speed of processor.there are many processor available in a market,some for laptops and others for desktop computers.the speed of processors is measure in a depend on a core of processor.
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  9. I think speed is important but what I find that works best is updating at least 2 years before the current market. 90 percent of computers from the last 10 years can handle everything on the net and most document editing. There is no reason for a duo core processor for opening up a browser. The key is to stay behind the times a tad, and purchase a depreciating asset. Save tons of money and always have a fast enough computer.
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  10. The simple answer here would here would be maybe, processors today are only marketed with clock speeds because it is far easier to market them with only this specification, however it is very easy to shoot down the notion the clock speed or GHz/MHz actually translates to real world performance, in fact overall performance relies far more heavily on local cache and architecture. For example if you were asking me this and the other processor in question is an older Pentium 4 than very simply yes this is because the lower clocked chip (Pentium Dual Core) is likely in a far more advanced family of architecture however if you were to ask me if it were say faster than a Core series Intel chip like the Intel Core I5 I would likely have to tell you no. Setting all of this aside you also have to consider what particular tasks would you like to run faster some tasks may be far faster and easier on a CPU that shines in a particular area such as video manipulation or complex math. At any rate the only way to get a really good idea is to looks up reviews and benchmarks that fit the particular computer use in question.

  11. Processor is a main part in a it’s very important to measure the speed of processor.there are many processor available in a market,some for laptops and others for desktop computers.the speed of processors is measure in a depend on a core of processor.

  12. it’s very important to measure the speed of we can got very high speed processor from the market which may increase the speed of the laptop or have shared very good information about the high speed of processoor.

  13. My PC is powered by a core i5 processor, 4 gb of ram, and 1gb video card but with the slow internet connection that is available in our Country I can’t really take advantage of the speed of my computer unless when just playing offline games.

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